Tending

Meet the Songwriters Behind the ‘Wandavision’ Hit ‘Agatha All Alongside’

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This story accommodates spoilers for the seventh episode of “WandaVision.”

If you’re a fan of the Disney+ Marvel sequence “WandaVision,” there are 5 phrases which have been caught in your head for the previous week: “It was Agatha all alongside.

The 62-second ear worm seems in Episode 7, “Breaking the Fourth Wall,” and its goal is easy: It explains what Wanda and Imaginative and prescient’s nosy neighbor, Agnes (Kathryn Hahn), has been as much as this complete time. It has additionally taken on a lifetime of its personal, having spawned quite a few lure, rock and rap remixes within the days because the episode debuted on Feb 19.

“None of us knew this was going to be the music,” mentioned Robert Lopez, 46, the composer who created the songs for the sequence together with his spouse of 17 years, the Oscar and Grammy-winning lyricist Kristen Anderson-Lopez, 48. “We awakened that morning to search out that it was all around the web, and it was like, ‘That is superior.’”

It isn’t the primary time the songwriting energy couple has created an infectious ear worm, having written tunes just like the Oscar- and Grammy-winning music “Let It Go” for the Disney animated film “Frozen” and the Oscar-winning ballad “Keep in mind Me” for the Pixar animated movie “Coco.” They’ve gained a pile of Oscars, Emmys, Tonys and Grammys between them. (Lopez, who co-conceived and co-wrote the hit musicals “Avenue Q” and “The Guide of Mormon,” is in rarefied air as the one double EGOT — somebody who has gained an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, twice over.)

However it’s a minute-long riff on “The Munsters” theme that has burned itself into the brains of the collective web over the previous week.

“It’s received an ‘Addams Household’ twist with an electrical harpsichord,” Anderson-Lopez mentioned. “It’s super-duper cool and looks like one thing you’d discover in a haunted home.”

Sung by Hahn and a refrain of male backup singers (together with Lopez), it delivers the dramatic revelation that Agnes is the highly effective witch Agatha Harkness — and that it’s she, not Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), who’s behind all the eccentricities taking place in sleepy little Westview. (Having killed a canine, she reveals, was amongst her dastardly deeds.)

When the music debuted on Spotify and iTunes on Tuesday, it leaped to the No. 1 slot on the iTunes soundtrack charts. (The lure remix created by the hip-hop artist Leland Philpot is “essentially the most wonderful factor,” Anderson-Lopez mentioned.)

In a telephone interview from Connecticut on Wednesday, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez shared how the observe got here collectively, their trick for getting their very own songs out of their very own heads, and why Hahn’s character is “perfidious” slightly than “hideous.” These are edited excerpts from the dialog.

Did you’ve any concept “Agatha All Alongside” was going to explode like this?

ROBERT LOPEZ No, under no circumstances. We had been kind of unhappy that we had been winding down and we didn’t know if we’d have any hits come out of this factor. However my goodness.

What a part of the music got here to you first?

LOPEZ We’ve got a theme — the “WandaVision” motif — that’s in each single music. In order that was how we started with “Agatha.”

KRISTEN ANDERSON-LOPEZ However, in a manner, “Agatha All Alongside” was there all alongside. We’ve been spoon-feeding a tritone that’s referred to as the satan’s interval — the [soft voice] duh-duh-duh — all through the sequence. After which in the end, when the large reveal occurs with the [thundering voice] DUH! DUH! DUH!, everybody had been listening to it steadily, so it felt like an outdated pal.

The place did you search for inspiration for the music?

LOPEZ We began with a special concept for a model of the music extra alongside the traces of “That Lady.”

ANDERSON-LOPEZ But it surely simply wasn’t proper; it simply wasn’t churning my blood the best way that I wished it to. So then we thought: It’s a present about witches, proper? So let’s embrace it. What different reveals are about witches and Goth figures? “The Addams Household,” “The Munsters,” the “Monster Mash” — all these Halloween-y form of songs which have this grinding, growling bari sax.

LOPEZ We even have an electrical harpsichord, which is what they use in “The Addams Household.” That’s the factor going dit-dit-dit-dit-dit-dit — the repeated refrain.

Who does what whenever you’re writing a music?

LOPEZ It modifications with each music. Typically we’ll write it collectively in the identical room, typically one in every of us will write the entire thing and the opposite one will take credit score. On this case, Kristen wrote the total lyrics and gave them to me on a sheet of paper, after which I went to city with music.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ I’d get up within the morning, and typically I’d be so excited to write down the songs that I’d write them within the bathe. Get out, get a towel, scribble them on a chunk of paper with drips, blurring ink — and Bobby would compose them by 10 a.m., and we’d report them after lunch, after which get notes at like 5 p.m.

“Perfidious” is kind of the lyric! The place did that come from?

ANDERSON-LOPEZ We knew we didn’t need to say hideous, as a result of Agatha continues to be scorching. So I checked out a rhyming dictionary and was like: “Perfidious! It’s so nice! It’s so excellent!”

LOPEZ We at all times have an SAT phrase within the lyrics someplace as a result of individuals recognize studying a phrase. And in the event that they already realize it, they recognize having the ability to brag that they realize it.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ Proper! “Frozen fractals …” [from “Let It Go”]

You’re making songwriting sound tremendous straightforward, however clearly it’s not. What’s the most difficult a part of the songwriting course of for you?

ANDERSON-LOPEZ There’s theme-song writing, after which there’s musical theater songwriting, that are very, very completely different. For one thing like “Frozen 2” or a Broadway present, the songs have to hold a lot story. You possibly can work a number of days on it. However for the theme songs, we simply needed to set tone for every episode.

LOPEZ The story of a full-length musical is the toughest factor on this planet to get proper. Ensuring that the songs assist the essential moments, get the character from Level A to Level B … that’s an entire torture room.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ Musical theater songwriting is like being an architect of a constructing, however with a theme music, it’s extra such as you’re designing the foyer.

LOPEZ However we like brief type!

ANDERSON-LOPEZ We prefer it when it’s finished by 5 and we are able to go feed our youngsters and have a cocktail.

How are you aware when a music is completed?

LOPEZ For essentially the most half, with “WandaVision,” they’d simply have a couple of notes for each music. We had been hitting bull’s-eyes on a regular basis — it by no means occurs that manner! This was simply essentially the most enjoyable challenge that both of us have ever labored on.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ Once you really feel secure along with your collaborators, you may say, “It feels finished, and I really feel prefer it’s secure sufficient to ship and get some suggestions on.” We’ve been so fortunate to work for Tom MacDougall, who’s now the president of Disney Music. He’s typically the primary one that hears something we write. We all know that he is aware of easy methods to hear moist paint.

Your neighbors weren’t followers of one in every of your final hits, the Oscar-winning anthem “Let It Go,” from “Frozen.” Has response been extra favorable this time round?

ANDERSON-LOPEZ It’s nonetheless early — they’ve had lower than per week. However I’m beginning to really feel the trickles on Twitter. I’m getting messages saying, “Thanks a lot for ‘Agatha All Alongside,’ now please take away it from my head!” and “It’s been 5 days, now take it again, please!”

Do the songs you write get caught in your head, too?

LOPEZ After all! You get up in the course of the evening with it pounding in your ears. However having a music that will get in individuals’s heads is such an honor for us. It means what we created in some way magically linked throughout area and time and landed in one other particular person’s neurons. It’s what was in our heads, and now it’s of their heads, and that’s one thing we now all share.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ I awakened at 3 a.m. this morning with “She’s insidious / So perfidious” simply occurring a loop in my head. And so I changed it with: “Don’t fear, / Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh, / be completely happy.”

LOPEZ That’s the way you get it out of your system …

ANDERSON-LOPEZ … exchange it with one other factor that’s been caught in your head earlier than.

What’s one of the best “Agatha All Alongside” remix you’ve come throughout?

ANDERSON-LOPEZ There’s a lure model with a gentleman at his console, and he’s like, “I’m so drained, so drained,” after which he presses play and essentially the most wonderful factor comes out.

LOPEZ My private favourite was by a really gifted rock musician who created a model that was him enjoying all of the devices and singing all of the components, and he completed it by like two hours after the episode had aired, with none sheet music being obtainable. It was unbelievable.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ And there’s a video of the musicology behind the music that’s utterly correct.

Does the success you get out of your profession come extra from the writing of the songs themselves or the reactions to them?

LOPEZ It depends upon the response. [Laughs.] We love writing. However that’s been a product of our yearslong collaboration. We didn’t like the method as a lot at first — I used to be very tightly wound.

ANDERSON-LOPEZ And now we write songs on trip!



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